While injuries may be an inevitable part of training, it's essential to understand when it's necessary to take a break from. The interchangeable use of muscle strain, pull, or tear may distract from the underlying condition or injury. Knowing the difference and when to seek medical help is vital in progressing safely.
A muscle strain is the tearing of the fibers that make up a muscle belly. The degree of the torn muscle fibers is graded on a scale of 1 - 3. A grade 1 strain is tearing of only a limited number of muscle fibers, while a grade 3 strain is a complete tear or rupture of the muscle. A muscle strain occurs when the muscle fibers cannot cope with the stress during activity.
Most commonly, this happens when the muscle is forcibly stretched while it is trying to contract. This mechanism is common with sprinting and jumping and often happens when an athlete does not properly warm up.
How to reduce your chances of a muscle strain:
Warm-up - Regardless of what physical activity you will be engaging in, taking time to warm up your muscles and joints may greatly reduce the risk of a strain. Something as simple as leg swings is a great start to get your body ready for movement.
Hydrate before activity - Your muscles require adequate hydration to maintain proper function. Drinking water in the hours and days leading to your event will ensure your muscles are ready to perform.
Cool down after training - Lactic acid builds up in your muscles during exercise. This is responsible for that sore sensation you experience during challenging efforts. Cooling down after training can help flush the muscle belly of any buildup and may promote good blood flow to the area which aids in recovery.
*This content is for educational purposes only. For your safety, always consult with a medical professional if you are experiencing pain or discomfort for appropriate assessments and management of your condition